Tackling bullying: Mark Feehily, a member of the Irish pop group Westlife, was pictured in the Westbury Hotel in Dublin on Monday to launch the first ever ISPCC anti-bullying awareness week in IrelandLeon Farrell

Mom Seeks New Home

A homeless young mother of five who cannot find private rented accommodation has refused to be transferred to a homeless shelter where she claims her children could be exposed to drugs.

Charlene Murray, 27, from Dun Laoghaire, said that Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council informed her that she and her five children had to move from the Camberley House shelter for the homeless in Churchtown where she is currently staying.

She claimed that council officials told her they could only locate a room for her and her children in another homeless shelter on the Southside. But she has refused the offer because she believes that some of the residents in the other shelter are drug users.

She claimed she had heard from several sources that drug users sometimes resided at the shelter where the council wanted to transfer her.

Murray was eager to point out that she was content, at least temporarily, to stay with her children in Camberley House until she could find suitable private rented accommodation.

The unemployed mother said she refused the offer because she felt that if she accepted it her five children – Casey, 11, Zara, 8, James, 6, Kealum, 2, and Skye, 2 -- could be put at risk. She added that she now had “nowhere else to go.”

“The girl that is living right next door to me in Camberley House is only after being taken out of there because it is unsuitable for kids,” she said.

“The shelter they want me to move into was meant to be knocked down because it is that bad. They want to move me and my kids down there where I heard there are drug addicts living.”

Murray became homeless late last year when she was evicted from her apartment.

“I couldn’t find anywhere to live before Christmas. No landlord that I rang wanted to take me with five kids,” she said.

“I have been on the housing list for nine years and nothing is being done. I should be allowed to provide some kind of home for my kids.”

Councilor Hugh Lewis said it was also his understanding that the shelter where the council wanted to transfer Ms Murray was “unsuitable” for children.

“Moving them there will only add to further distress for the children and Charlene,” he said.

Lewis called on the council to actively assist Ms Murray and other parents and single people in similar situations in finding landlords who will accommodate them.

A spokesperson for the council said its housing department provided assistance in sourcing accommodation in the private rented sector through tenant advocacy group Threshold, which provides a twice weekly clinic in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown.
- Dublin People

Costly Bar Fight

A mother of three who kicked another female in the face in the course of an altercation, chipping her tooth in the process, has been told by a district court judge to expect to pay between €5,000 and €6,000 in compensation to the injured party.

Paula Hunn, 30, of Killorglin, appeared before the local district court charged with assaulting the woman in the Forge Night Club in Killorglin last June 5. Hunn pleaded guilty to the charge.

Details were given in court of an altercation in which the injured party suffered a chipped tooth, a scarred lip and had a clump of her hair torn out.

Inspector Donal Ashe said there was a "bit of a history" between the two women.

"It is alleged that Paula Hunn caught her by the hair. She (injured party) had a clump of her hair pulled out and got a few bruises. While they were on the ground, Ms. Hunn kicked out and chipped her tooth," Ashe said.

Solicitor Pádraig O'Connell said his client was prepared to pay the injured party the costs of dental treatment, estimated to be in the region of €1,400. He said she had brought €300 into court.

"She has no previous convictions. She has never stepped out of line in her life," O'Connell said.

"This is a source of huge embarrassment for her and she is seriously remorseful for what happened. She has put €300 aside since she got summonsed in January."

Judge James O'Connor said Hunn should expect to pay between €5,000 and €6,000 compensation to the injured party in addition to the €1,400 to cover dental treatment.
The case was adjourned until the July 12 sitting of the court.
- The Kerryman

House Husbands Undervalued

Cork's 1,100 house husbands don't value themselves as much as their female counterparts.

That's according to an analysis report undertaken by life assurance company Caledonian Life, which claims that Ireland's house husbands do not match their female counterparts when it comes to placing a financial value on their role.

Caledonian Life looked at their customer profiles and analyzed those who identified themselves as a housewife or a house husband when taking out their insurance policy.

They used this information to assess the differences between stay-at-home spouses when it came to putting financial protection in place.

According to Tony Burke of Caledonian Life in Cork, "There are approximately 180,000 married men and women in Cork. Approximately 58,000 of these are stay-at-home moms and an estimated 1,100 are stay-at-home dads.

"However, interestingly, although one could argue that the stay-at-home parent plays the same role regardless of gender, our analysis would suggest that housewives value themselves at 18% higher than house husbands."

However, he said both groups undervalue themselves when compared with their counterparts working outside the home.

The average level of cover for stay at home parents is €218,000 for males and €258,000 for females.
- The Corkman

Appalling Asylum Life

MICE, cockroaches, poor hygiene and inadequate food supplies are just some of the issues highlighted by asylum seekers living at Newbridge’s Eyre Powell center in an unprecedented letter to the authorities.

The letter, signed by 44 residents of the center, has been circulated to organizations including the Department of Justice, the Irish Refugee Council and the Reception and Integration Center, which runs refugee centers on behalf of the department.

The Eyre Powell currently accommodates about 80 people, of whom up to 30 are children or young people.

The letter, and accompanying photographs, open up an appalling scenario of dilapidation and poor hygiene, with the residents complaining of frequent infestation by mice and insects.

Those living at the center, who are paid the statutory sum of just €19.10 per week, say they often have to try and buy food for themselves or their children as the diet is inadequate, while toiletries including tissue, soap and shampoo are frequently in short supply.

The residents also claim that they have experienced racism, with differentiation between white and non-white residents.
- Kildare Nationalist

Leitrim Loves Dogs

Leitrim has the best record for re-homing stray dogs in the country.

The 2011 figures from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government showed that just four out of 411 dogs taken in last year were put to sleep by Leitrim Animal Welfare Trust, located outside of Drumkeerin.

Leitrim can be proud that the facility re homed 370 dogs last year, giving it an 89% re-homing rate. Last year there were 2,278 individual licenses for dogs in the county, a high percentage for the small population. Leitrim Animal Welfare Trust took over the running of the Leitrim Dog Pound in 2004.

On a national level statistics have shown that, on average, 44 dogs are abandoned in Ireland each day, whilst a further 10 dogs are put to sleep every day.

In order to help curb these startling figures, Pedigree has once again launched the Pedigree Adoption Drive which will run until May 31.

In addition, dog lovers across the country will also be able to show their support by becoming a fan of the Pedigree Ireland Facebook page, www.facebook.com/PedigreeIreland. For every new fan, Pedigree will donate a bowl of dog food to a re-homing center.

Pedigree plans to match last year’s achievements by donating €100,000 in cash and food to Irish dog charities.
- Leitrim Observer